06/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Get a College Education for Free

Worried about college costs?

College does not need to cost thousands of dollars per year. Now there is an online university where students can go for free. The only fees are for application and examination processing--both of which are nominal.

Meet the University of the People, a nonprofit with a proven business model that is the world's first tuition-free online academic institution dedicated to the advancement of higher education.

It was founded by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, named one of Fast Company's "Most Creative People in Business" in 2009. Shai has 20 years experience in the education market.

Shai's idea is to offer access to high education regardless of location, finances, gender, culture or race. He is using Moodle (a course management system), open educational resources (OER), social networking and peer-to-peer learning as the model for the university.

You're in luck if you are interested in studying computer science or business administration, since those are the only two programs in full operation at the moment. So far the university has accepted 450 students from 87 countries, including the USA, China, Indonesia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. More programs will be added as the numbers of students grow. Students are not charged for taking classes or accessing study materials.

In order to be sustainable, the university needs 15,000 students -- realistic, considering it is available to students worldwide. The University also needs donations. $80 will send one student to University of the People for a term. For some, that might be the cost of a dinner or a new sweater. For students, it's the building block for a better life. Whether you donate $8 or $80, you are bringing students one step closer to their goal. The University needs US$6 million for sustainability. So far Shai is the primary funder, with a donation of $1 million.

The academic leadership is impressive: in addition to Shai Reshef, there is Provost Dr. Harris Cohen (Columbia University), Department of Computer Science Chair Dr. Alexander Tuzhilin (New York University), Department of Business Administration Chair Dr. Russell S. Winer (New York University), and Associate Dean of General Studies Dr. Ruth Yakir (Kibbutzim College)

So if you are a prospective student, check out University of the People. If you would like to help make the world a better place, consider donating to help those who are missing the opportunity for higher education. With your help, higher education can become reality for millions.

Learn more about feeding the global movement at